As the Hill Country embraces an absolutely gorgeous debut of Spring this weekend, we took advantage of precious time and sunny days to work on an area of the Site that will soon be in play with our first customer event, coming up quickly on April 10-11 (as we write this, Tickets are available on the website at www.SiboneyCellars.com/Events).
After you drive through the front gate of our new site, you will presently see a stand of very large heritage live oaks – some as old as the Republic of Texas. Just a limestone’s throw from the Terrace Vineyard… this grove is perfect for greeting guests, organizing tastings, or hosting live music. While the trees did not completely escape the ravages of the Ice Storm of a month ago, damage to major branches appears to be contained. If you’ve noticed, many live oaks seem to be molting very aggressively this year. It’s as though the evergreen leaves gave their last ounce of energy to save the tree. The replacement buds are just emerging.
So what we have is something this grove hasn’t seen in an age — dappled sunlight to the forest floor. There are many years’ worth of fallen leaves in this grove, layer on layer. We spent hours removing and clearing around a few trees to see what was underneath, and we have uncovered beautiful Agarita and Blue Grama native grasses, ready to spring to life. So encouraged by this beautiful display of greenery on rich soil, we pushed forward to clear more. We might have a week or two of this dappled sunlight filtering through these oaks, and if we get a good rain, we just might regenerate even more beautiful native landscape.
Then we had the idea to define these areas with quarried limestone from the winery excavation. With literally thousands of bright limestone rocks to choose from, we pulled them by hand from piles. Transported then laid them down, creating three rings around several sets of trees. This will now define a walking path through the grove, as well as an area for guests to relax in the shade of true Texas Heritage Oaks. And to cap it off, we uncovered a beautiful fossil in one of the excavation areas, a bi-valve from 60 million years ago. Also known as a Texas Heart or a Deer Heart, it fits perfectly in the palms of both hands.
The significance of this is important for any winemaker. Even at 1500 feet elevation, the Texas Hill Country was once an ancient sea floor. With salt water and calcium forming the bedrock of limestone, the complexity of our terroir is further underscored. We now have yet another reason to cherish this opportunity to plant our vineyard in April. An awakening that begins the next chapter in the forever tale of this beautiful region of the world. This perfect fossil specimen will be on display in our wine cellar, a validation that everything we do is interconnected.
We move from winter into spring. We walk the eternal bridge linking past, present and future. Ancient limestone terraces. Heritage oaks. And soon, a new vineyard.